Dr Rosh, leading aesthetics practitioner & medical director of Cheshire aesthetics and wellness clinic, KLNIK, gives his advice on the effects of alcohol on our skin
Dehydration and hangovers
Alcohol is a toxin, it can have damaging effects on your skin. One of the biggest effects alcohol has on the skin is dehydration. Alcohol is a diuretic, meaning that it forces water out of the body and makes it more difficult to rehydrate afterwards.It does this by telling the kidneys to make more urine than normal. So, you urinate more. If you are unable to replace these fluids, then this will lead to dehydration. Some signs of dehydration, which are commonly referred to as a hangover include dry mouth, headache, weakness, dizziness and extreme fatigue.
Alcohol can lead to breakouts
The sugar in alcohol can initiate an insulin response and elevated insulin can have a negative effect on thyroid and sex hormones, causing hormonal imbalance and skin problems.Alcohol can increase testosterone levels in women. It can also increase oestradiol levels. These increased hormone levels can stimulate the sebaceous glands in the skin. This can cause increased oil, or sebum, production which can clog your pores and result in a breakout. Alcohol also causes inflammation of the skin, this can result in redness and puffiness. Alcoholic drinks also tend to be high in sugar, cocktails and white wine in particular, this can lead to acne breakouts, loss of skin plumpness and a dull complexion.
Alcohol causing ageing to the skin
When alcohol is metabolised, it produces free radicals. These free radicals can damage collagen and elastin fibres within the skin. This causes the skin to lose its firmness and elasticity. The consequence of which are fine lines, wrinkles and laxity of the skin. This can cause fine lines and pores to become more visible.
There is evidence to suggest a strong relationship between alcohol and ageing. Drinking too much can cause skin wrinkles, redness and dryness. Alcohol can put an extra strain on the body by releasing more stress hormones, this in turn speeds up the ageing process. It also affects the normal functioning of the digestive system, making it more difficult to absorb essential nutrients. These include vitamins A, B, D and E, minerals such as calcium, magnesium, iron and zinc; as well as proteins and carbohydrates. This limits the body’s ability to maintain itself, resulting in accelerated ageing.
Effects of alcohol in our nails
The dehydration side effect of alcohol impacts not only the skin, but also the nails! With excessive drinking, nails will become brittle, more prone to peeling, dry and easier to break. Nail changes that are associated with alcoholic liver disease include: clubbing, where the nail bulges out instead of dipping in slightly before it meets the skin at the root of the nail, resembling a club. Koilonychia which is the opposite of clubbing, instead of bulging out, the nail plate is flat or sunken in like a spoon-shape.
With all the effects that alcohol has both inside and outside the body, it’s important to detox and care for the skin. Ensuring your hydration levels are maintained and the skin can receive all the vitamins and nutrients it needs.